how emergent are you

By November 15, 2005General

The following is from a blog called “Out of Ur.” A great reference to Abraham’s willingness to follow God in faith. I’ve posted it here because many people consider LifePoint to be a part of the emerging church conversation. It’s a good post.

How Emergent Are You? McLaren’s Seven Layers of the Emergent Conversation

Islam has its five pillars. Buddhism has its eight-fold path. Evangelicalism
has its four spiritual laws. And now the Emerging Church has its seven layers of
conversation.

Last month I was part of a small gathering of church leaders that hosted an
evening with Brian McLaren. And the conversation turned as hot as the chutney. A
number of participants were eager to discuss the criticisms that have been
levied against the emerging church in recent months. The hijacking of the
emergent movement by those merely interested in new worship trends rather than
more substantive issues aggravated others. Everyone was looking to McLaren to
chime in.

Always more likely to defuse than to detonate, McLaren entered the spicy
conversation casually while slouched into the sofa with beverage in hand. He
cautioned us against judging where others were in the “emergent conversation.”
Leaning forward, he outlined what he saw as the seven layers of the emergent
conversation. “We all enter at a different layer,” he said, “but everyone should
be welcomed into the conversation no matter where they may be.”

Based on McLaren’s description, I’ve outlined the seven layers below.

I’ve added my own titles and used the imaginary “Seeker Community Church” to
illustrate each point.

Layer 1: StyleSeeker Community Church realizes they’re ineffective at
reaching the coveted 18-32 year old demographic. They send a few staff members
to a conference and they come back with goatees and candles.

Layer 2: EvangelismAfter trying every facial hair permutation, Seeker
Community Church discovers that to actually communicate the gospel to a younger
generation they’ve got to learn to speak their language. They hire a former
youth pastor to start an evening worship service with an “x” in its name.

Layer 3: CultureIt gradually dawns upon Seeker Community Church that the new
challenges they are encountering are not limited to the younger generation. The
entire culture is shifting away from the modern presuppositions their church was
built upon. Some of the language and practices of the “x” service trickle into
the rest of the church.

Layer 4: MissionThe emergence of Postmodernism causes Seeker Community Church
to reevaluate the effectiveness of their mission strategy. Altar calls and
gospel tracks are left behind in favor of community groups and relationships.
Conversion is accepted as a journey and not merely a point of decision.

Layer 5: ChurchSeeker Community Church begins to wonder if a multi
million-dollar building housing a theatrical production every weekend is the
only way to do church. Drawing from new and ancient forms of church, they launch
alternative communities—one meets in a bar on Sunday night, and the other is a
liturgical gathering. The church also partners with an inner city monastic group
to reach street kids.

Layer 6: GospelThe leadership of Seeker Community Church is stunned when the
senior pastor confesses, “I’m not sure I’ve really understood the gospel.” He
begins to wonder why Jesus never said God loves you and has a wonderful plan for
your life? And why Paul never asked anyone to invite Jesus into your heart? He
starts to realize that the Good News is much more than he’d ever imagined.

Layer 7: WorldMaybe the mission of the church isn’t simply to become a bigger
church? Maybe, like Jesus, the church is to engage the larger world to reveal
that the kingdom of God has drawn near? To their amazement, Seeker Community
Church discovers significant swaths of the Bible (such as the Pentateuch,
prophets, gospels, and epistles) talk about justice, poverty, and compassion.
The church begins to speak about social issues and participates in efforts to
combat poverty, AIDS, and global injustice.

So, how emergent are you?

Posted by Skye Jethani on October 28, 2005 12:00 AM